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Superintendent's Message, November 2023

Originally published in the Vestavia Hills Community Newsletter

November 1, 2023 -- Our nation’s history is rich with stories that illuminate the spirit of entrepreneurship. We are the most economically prosperous nation in the world because of the grit and determination of citizens who built small businesses and sprawling urban centers. Those intrinsic qualities have created limitless possibilities for our future generations.

Alabama is home to elite postsecondary institutions that prepare students to be successful in business. The names Brock, Collat, Culverhouse, and Harbert are embedded in the resumes of many successful entrepreneurs across the state. Degrees from these institutions prepare future business leaders by instilling in them the knowledge, skills, and character virtues necessary to be successful. This is important to me because we have many students interested in this career path. In fact, one out of every three Vestavia Hills High School graduates who attend Auburn University or The University of Alabama choose a business major.

VHHS students can prepare early for this path by taking courses that teach the same skills they will learn in college. One unique opportunity at VHHS that harnesses students’ entrepreneurial interests is a program called INCubatoredu. Now in its third year, this entrepreneurial class has tripled in size.

INCubatoredu is part of a class that teaches students how to start their own business. Teacher Justin Davenport says, “Students start by exploring problems that people experience in their daily lives. They work on turning those problems into solutions by developing their own product or service startup. Students test their ideas, conduct market research, and estimate their costs and future revenue. This entire process leads up to our Final Pitch where our students present their business ideas and plans to a panel of judges. The winner of the VHHS Final Pitch is then nominated to compete at the INCubatoredu National Pitch in Chicago. If our local winning team is selected to participate, they could get the chance to pitch for real funding by real investors who are interested in their business.”

Bright Mobile, Coca-Cola, Eco Three, Howl Services, and Whitlee Creative partnered with INCubatoredu last year to elevate the success of the program. Mr. Davenport adds, “Throughout the year we invite local entrepreneurs to come into the classroom to serve as mentors guiding students throughout the process.” This is just one of many ways that local businesses can pay it forward by investing in our next generation of entrepreneurs. If you are interested in partnering with this growing program, we would love to hear from you.